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Powering straight outta Northern NSW, punk purveyors Power Drill have exploded in 2023 with a brand new EP Crime Time TV set to up the ante, showcasing a polished and heavier shift in proceedings.
Releasing today, alongside a nostalgic horror-tinged music video for the EP’s title track, Crime Time TV is Power Drill sharply drilling down on heavy DIY punk alongside a notably matured sound, while also building on the significant momentum kickstarted by their 2021 EP STATE OF EMERGENCY. And, as drummer George recently shared with HysteriaMag.com, the origins for Crime Time TV thread firmly back to its predecessor – but the road to completion was not without its own unforeseen challenges.
“After our debut EP, we actually had a couple of the tracks that made it onto Crime Time TV already written,” says George, “although over the last year they changed quite drastically from their original sound. Hit The Legs and King of the Castle were the first two we wrote for this EP.
“After STATE OF EMERGENCY and Australian Made, we dealt with a few setbacks, including lineup changes, injuries and COVID stuff which pushed back the recording of this EP by quite a few months. We had actually finished writing the final track, Crime Time TV, around mid 2022, which is when I started spawning the ideas for the music video and EP themes.”
With added grit and burlier elements across the board, Crime Time TV is Power Drill undeniably at their most potent to date, balancing their signature tongue-in-cheek stylings with a notably increased serious lyrical approach. But rather than a preachy deviation, the expansion seamlessly builds on the Power Drill universe, with moments of spicy punk still readily on offer across the new EP.
“For me personally I have always been a big hardcore and metal fan,” says George, “and I take a lot of my musical influence from those genres and work them throughout Power Drill tracks.
“Over the EP you can hear more of the older Power Drill sound on the faster, choppier, more punk-oriented tracks; but we felt that the lyrical content we had written needed something heavier and more impactful to get our message across. And who doesn’t love a big breakdown.”
Armed with seven new tunes on Crime Time TV, the end result is a collection of carefully curated songs that also saw the band actively seeking to connect the local punk community, with Nat from Bilinudgel “tradie punks” Rash and Rose from Northern Rivers hardcore punks Masochist providing memorable features on Point and Shoot and Chemically Enhanced respectively.
“We did have a couple of tracks we used to bring out live that we had written just after STATE OF EMERGENCY, but we felt they weren’t up to par with the tracks that did make the cut,” says George.
“As a band, we actually started at the same time as Rash, playing our first shows together and taking Rash along for our entire State of Emergency tour, so that bond we have with those guys is really strong.
Having two amazing local artists coming on board for the guest features on this EP is something I cherish, as it will hopefully strengthen the local music community and encourage more bands to collaborate and create new and interesting things.
[ George, Power Drill ]
“With this EP I really wanted to do something I haven’t seen done much in the punk scene and get some guest vocalists in, so my first port of call was Nat. I had pictured his voice fitting really well on Chemically Enhanced, and we brought him along to the studio for our second vocal session and he came in and nailed his take.
“With Point and Shoot, the story and message of the lyrics could only go so far from my point of view, and to tie it all together I thought the track needed a strong female energy on board to bring it to life. I’ve listened to Masochist since before Power Drill were a thing and knew I wanted Rose’s voice to carry the song, and after a few messages we had organised the feature and Rose sent through her powerful lyrics and vocal takes, recorded in Lismore at Old Dog studios.
“Having two amazing local artists coming on board for the guest features on this EP is something I cherish, as it will hopefully strengthen the local music community and encourage more bands to collaborate and create new and interesting things.”
Working alongside engineer and producer Lachlan Macleod, whose previous work includes Lazy Ghost, JK-47 and Thirst Trap, the brand new Power Drill chapter still eagerly captures the DIY energy previously witnessed on the band’s earlier material while also branching beyond their former processes – and all without sacrificing their well-oiled creative operations.
“We recorded this EP with Lachlan at his studio in Kingscliff,” says George, “and this was the first time we recorded with someone else. Our first EP and singles were all recorded, mixed and mastered by myself in my bedroom with little equipment, and going into a studio to work with Lach was an awesome experience.
“We haven’t worked with a producer before and all of the musicality, arrangement, and lyrics is all done by us, but Lachlan’s input into the recording process and his use of effects and editing in the mix really added what was needed for each track.
“When we write for Power Drill we usually just jam and flow until something comes naturally and when it locks into place: we hit record on a phone and keep a stockpile of demos. There’s no real music I can remember where we have written individually, it’s very much a group process. On the other hand, the lyrics usually come about from a theme or topic I want to address or write about, and then I build the lyrics on top of the music. I do have a notebook with phrases, lyrical themes, and some short verses that I start with as reference and then I re-write and adjust them to fit in with the flow of the music.”
Recently supporting Aussie punk legends The Hard-Ons on the Gold Coast for the Ripper ‘23 Tour, the chance to open for one of the genre’s greats also offered an organic full-circle moment for Power Drill themselves.
“That was actually really cool when we were asked by Hard Ons to support them at Vinnies Dive,” says George. “It feels almost like imposter syndrome when we’re asked to play on these shows with amazing bands – but it must mean we’re doing something right!
“It was an awesome night at Vinnies, we have been playing there since we started Power Drill, and our first ever show at a proper venue was at Vinnies, so we pretty much count Southport as our hometown now. It was great to see so many familiar faces and new people at the Hard-On’s gig, and we got to play some of these new tracks to a great crowd. Nothing beats a night out at Vinnies for us, and we’re so grateful we get to keep coming back!”
Currently flying the flag for Northern NSW and the independent punk and hardcore scene, Power Drill may have their gazes currently fixed on their brand new EP releasing into the world – but there’s also plenty of optimism accompanying their ongoing journey surrounding their hometown and their genre on a broader scale.
“I grew up in the Byron Bay Hardcore scene,” says George, “and during that era I got to see so many big lineup shows at the youth centre in Byron, which I would call the golden age of the hardcore scene.
“Recently there seems to be a big resurgence of the hardcore scene both locally and Australia wide with bands like Speed pushing hardcore music into the mainstream, and creating space for bigger events and shows for hardcore bands.
“Overall I think there’s a solid amount of traction for up and coming bands, a good amount of venues popping up to make way for the local scenes and there seems to be more tours, festivals and shows with heavy bands becoming popular, which is great to see.”
Currently cooking up plans to tour Crime Time TV and tick off more interstate shows, including their first-ever appearances in Melbourne and Adelaide, Power Drill are already in writing mode working on more songs to follow up their latest release. But with the EP’s overarching homage to 90s and 00s horror, seen with gusto on the EP’s title track and music video, we couldn’t help but pry into George’s own viewing habits when it comes to some throwback cinematic scares.
“Obviously the Crime Time TV clip is a homage to the Saw franchise,” says George, “which is one of my favourites of all time. It’s one I love to revisit, as it was one of the first horror franchises I ever got into.
“I think from the big twist reveal at the end of the first movie to the overarching storylines with so many twists and turns, it’s got to be my favourite from that era of horror.”
Catch an exclusive premiere right here on HysteriaMag.com of the brand new music video for the EP’s title track Crime Time TV, with the Power Drill crew filming the entirety of the clip in one day underneath the house the band’s guitarist and bassist lived in at the time. Featuring an old PC monitor mounted inside of a cardboard box onto a wooden frame, any pillowcases did survive the filming, but the band soldiered on playing on camera while blindfolded and gagged. That’s showbiz, baby!